Signal of Opportunity CubeSat Ranging and Timing ExperimentS (SOCRATES) is a 3U CubeSat mission whose objecitve is to advance the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of a new, compact X-ray spectrometer for use on CubeSats.
The spectrometer can be used as science sensor for observing atrophysical X-ray emissions. It can also be used as a positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) sensor. When is used as a PNT sensor, it will use X-ray emmission from astrophysical sources such as pulsars for synchronizing the clocks on small CubeSat with some reference time at the solar system barycenter.
The spectrometer developed is called Cesium Iodide Thallium Doped Incident Energy Spectrometer (CITIES). Currently, GRID is at a TRL of 5. The goal of the SOCRATES mission is to elevate it to TRL 7.
Sponsors: NASA Undergraduate Student Instrument Project (USIP) & Minnesota Space Grant Consortiium